Last year, the health food influencers were filling their Instagram feeds with images of activated charcoal and golden milk lattes. However, as the social media generation might say, those are so 2018. The truth is, health food is as subject to the vagaries of fashion and popularity as every other aspect of our lives. So what are the health food trends that are taking centre stage as we progress into the second quarter of 2019?
Focusing on the food
An encouraging trend is that health-conscious consumers are adopting more of a “food-first” mindset, particularly when it comes to snacks. In other words, they are moving away from artificially processed, nutrient-rich products in favour of natural whole food snacks that are inherently healthy and nutrient rich. No doubt this has been partially prompted by the growing trend towards clean, clear and minimalistic labelling that leaves food manufacturers with nowhere to hide.
Who needs meat?
A generation ago, vegans were seen as some sort of food extremists, but these days, even the carnivores among us often enjoy a meat free Monday or similar, as there are so many protein alternatives that are meat and dairy free. As demand grows, so do the choices, and this year we are seeing a variety of soy, nut and seed based products on offer across every food type you can think of, including snacks, burgers, sausages, yoghurts cheese and lots more.
Oats aren’t just for eating
The earlier comments about golden milk lattes might have been a little tongue-in-cheek, but every year there seems to be a new milk trend in the health food world. Oat milk seemed to appear from nowhere in the second half of last year and has become increasingly popular. Coffee aficionados love the way that it foams in the same way as dairy, so it is perfect for those cappuccinos. It tastes very similar, too, while delivering all the nutritional benefits that make oats so popular among the health-conscious.
More choice in alternative fats
The popularity of paleo, keto and grain-free diets has created an increased demand for alternative healthy fat sources. MCT oil is extracted from coconuts and is likely to become a common sight on the shelves in health food stores and even supermarkets. A more surprising trend, however, is that ghee is undergoing something of a revival. This clarified butter product has been a staple of South East Asian cuisine for centuries and is actually extremely healthy, despite the fact that it is used as the basis for those delicious rich and creamy curries that we think of as such a guilty pleasure.
Health food becoming more mainstream
There is one overriding trend that has been on the rise for the past few years and shows no sign of abating, and that is the eroding distinction of “health food” as something somehow different to “normal food.” Healthy snacks, in particular, are becoming the norm, and many businesses are seeing the opportunities that this brings through contract manufacturing. Expect this particular trend to continue through to 2020 and beyond.